Music video service VEVO already has apps for the iPad and Android, but the company is pointing to its launch today on Microsoft’s Windows 8 as a milestone that opens up additional capabilities for tablet users, including the ability to stream videos off to the side while checking email or browsing the web.
VEVO’s use of Windows 8’s SnapView is a small example of what Microsoft hopes will become a larger trend of developers taking better advantage of the operating system’s features to improve their apps and differentiate them from versions on other devices.
As a bonus, VEVO says it will be able to easily adapt the new Windows 8 app to run on Microsoft’s Xbox One when it launches later this year, as a follow-up to its existing Xbox Live app for Xbox 360.
“I would love to be able to do what I’m doing on the VEVO Windows 8 app on my iPad, but that’s just not available yet,” said Michael Cerda, senior vice president of product and technology for VEVO, speaking via phone this week.
VEVO is one of several Windows 8 app launches being cited by Microsoft this morning as evidence of momentum in advance of the company’s Build developer conference next week in San Francisco. Microsoft recently said it reached 80,000 apps in the Windows Store, up from 70,000 in only three weeks.
Other launches this week include social DJ’ng app edjing, recipe app Great British Chefs, the Time Out city guides, the Tesco Groceries app, and the Vyclone social video service. In each case, the Redmond company is pointing to unique features and aspects of the user interface for these apps on Windows 8.
But here’s the catch: In most cases, these apps are already available for iOS or Android — or in some cases for both.
One exception is the new “Where’s My Mickey” game from Disney, launching this week on the Windows Store at the same time it debuts on Android and iPad.
“We’re starting to see really nice apps come to Windows 8, we’re starting to see people extend what they can do with their apps on the Windows 8 platform, and in this case we’re starting to see partners build for Windows at the same time they build for other platforms,” said Steve Guggenheimer, the chief evangelist for Windows, in an interview this week.
But here’s another catch for end users: Disney is charging $4.99 for Where’s My Mickey on Windows 8, compared with $1.99 on Android and iPad. This is a relatively common phenomenon, where app publishers often charge more on Windows 8 to make up for the expectation of lower sales volume as usage of the new Microsoft platform ramps up.
In Microsoft’s favor, Guggenheimer notes that developers have a better chance of standing out in the Windows Store. They also have more flexibility to choose an underlying commerce platform, and they stand a chance of making more money based Microsoft’s practice of shifting to a more generous revenue split — 80 percent for the developer — when a particular app crosses the threshold of $25,000 in sales.
“There’s clearly a chance for Windows over time to be the place people start, or the place people differentiate,” Guggenheimer said.
In the meantime, developers building for the platform are holding out hope that Windows 8 can deliver a big audience over time.
“This is something that everybody’s wondering — how are they going to get critical mass?” said VEVO’s Cerda. “It’s been somewhat of a slow start, but I think the bet is that the UI and the UX combination is such a step forward that it’s going to attract people. You just can’t do a lot of these things on an iPad today. So they’ve already taken a step forward from a platform enablement standpoint. The bet is that this is what starts to move them forward — when people can do things on Windows 8 that they can’t do on iPad.”
Note: GeekWire will be in San Francisco next week covering Microsoft’s Build conference, where the company is planning to release a preview of the Windows 8.1 update, among other news. Watch for coverage next week.